Monday, June 27, 2011

Grading the 7D footage

If you've read the previous posts about me raving about the Canon 7D, (and I know you have) then you'll probably enjoy this little short I put together with color graded B-Roll footages from various projects I was busy with during the last few months.
2 different Picture Profiles were used for the short. The streets of Dhaka was shot with Marvel Film's gamma setting, while the "latrine" shoot (ie shots of the blue uniform garbed school children) were done with my own custom gamma settings. Both ended up being pretty good.
The last post I put up had the ungraded screen caps from the school shoot. How do the graded cuts hold up?
Notes on the grade itself. I wanted a saturated, gritty and cool tone. Sorta like Fincher meets saturation land. Some of the shots were graded with a yellow diffusion (I kinda wanted an angelic warm glow) over the street children. The wide shots had some sort of gradient applied to them, like a grad filter added in post, mostly for a stylistic effect and somewhat for a way of taking down blown out highlights.
The shots are all jerky run n' gun, no time for checking focus marks, no time for steady cams. Capture the moment as they come, all improvised. So for all you Michael Mann fans.......cheers.

I do apologize for the low quality. But thats the only way I could get the short to upload on YouTube, without eating into my monthly download/upload cap of 12GB, thanks to my ISP.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shooting Shit (no....literally) with the 7D

Calm down, get your mind out of the gutter, this is Bangladesh. Shooting latrines for NGOs, for Dr Richard Cash is commonplace here. Especially when its free work during a free day (those are hard to come by). Sara Liza Baumann was upto her MPH ways when she decided to shoot some promos about the latrine systems that local NGO BRAC decided to put in public schools across rural areas. Although I was promised a home cooked meal (which I didn't get) for doing this, I decided to do this since I wanted to try out a new picture profile for the 7D and new ingenious idea of using a DIY webcam mic to record interviews.

Firstly, the ingenious idea of the mic. I hate to toot my own horn but I think I'm gonna make a lot of indie HDSLR filmmakers happy and a lot of mic makers angry. I got a Chinese made Logitech copy of a goose-neck webcam mic, about $5, from a local computer store. Then I stripped the entire mic from the base and cut off the wire. I searched my tool shed and found some old Creative Sound Blaster AWE 32 speaker connectors (same as the stereo 1/8" jack as the mic) and attached those to the mic. Thus I ended up with a goose-neck directional stereo mic with a 10m long jack. Attaching it to the camera, perfecto. Clear sound, perfect for interviews. I didn't know my director didn't want the mic to be in the shots, so for future projects I'd hang the mic from a DIY boom pole. I know, I know, I'm awesome and you're welcome.

Next, the new Picture Profile. This one was built for maximum latitude with minimum lighting. The skin tones (mids) were also bumped to give more of a yellowish tone off even in overtly green/blue settings. Since the school where we were shooting did not have electricity, ie lights, we had to shoot with ISO's upto 3200. The results?? Here are some screencaps.